WASHINGTON– Republicans seem to be trying to starve the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the resources it needs to police the sale of investment products, Rep. Gary Peters said today at the fiduciary standard hearing.

“Consumers are not being served if they’re not receiving access to investment quality advice,” Peters, D-Mich., said at an invest products sales oversight hearing organized by the House Financial Services Committee’s capital markets subcommittee. “Whatever regulator will regulate investment advisors in future, it’s important they be given resources needed, but Republicans seem unwilling to do this.”

Other Democrats at the hearing expressed similar views.

“The SEC needs funds to carry out Its new powers,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn. “Government watchdogs of Wall Street have long been outnumbered.”

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., defended SEC efforts to move quickly to craft a rule applying the same fiduciary standard that now applies to investment advisors to broker-dealers and their representatives.

“It is important that we foster environment in which clients can growth their investments wisely,” Lynch said. “We must ensure that regulators have resources to keep investors well informed and their money safe.”

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., noted that reearch indicators that the average investor does not understand how broker-dealers differ from investment advisors.

“As line is blurred…I applaud SEC study concluding that both [investment advisors] and [broker-dealers] should be subject to a harmonized fiduciary standard,” Waters said. “I believe that differences can be worked out; no need to stop rule-making in its tracks. Let government agencies do their job; it’s essential that let SEC do its job.”

But even some Democrats on the panel echoed the argument made by insurance producer groups and many Republicans — that the SEC should take more time to analyze the impact of applying a universal fiduciary standard more thoroughly.

“I do not oppose the SEC,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. “Something needs to change; the status quo is not acceptable. But I want to be sure that proper economic analysis is done to ensure that consumers are protected.”

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